McCain Pollster McInturff Overspins Himself
by Jonathan Singer, Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 08:29:00 PM EDT
Bill McInturff, John McCain's pollster, doing a little spinning:
I went on Real Clear Politics tonight to find these two headlines back-to-back.
CBS/NYT: Obama up comfortably
FOX: Race tightens significantly
I believe we live in a world much closer to the Fox results.
Nice spin, right? The problem is, McInturff doesn't actually "believe we live in a world much closer to the Fox results," or at least he didn't until very recently. How do we know? As Josh rightly noted earlier today, the partisan balance of that Fox News poll McIntuff claims to believe in appears to be out of whack, with just a 2-point spread in affiliation between the two parties (41 percent Democratic and 39 percent Republican). Yet just last month, when McInturff was trying to spin the press to combat another poll, he said that he believed the current partisan balance was 6 to 8 points. If that number could be brought closer to a 4-point spread, McInturff explained, McCain would win. No talk, however, about a 2-point self-identification spread between the two parties.
Maybe I'm missing something? Or did McInturff overspin this one?
Update [2008-10-31 0:55:41 by Todd Beeton]:Funny, looks like this spin is in response to a memo from Stan Greenberg, which itself was in response to some serious McInturff spin from Tuesday.
First, here is how McInturff opens his wishful thinking memo from the other day:
First, lets be clear: This is a hard election to predict.
The historic nature of the candidates on both tickets, the huge influx of unregulated money by the Obama campaign, the dour public mood, and the unique level of voter interest all suggest an historic level of turn-out, not witnessed in over 40 years.
Our models/understanding of what is coming is therefore necessarily projective, but, here is what we know for sure:
The McCain campaign has made impressive strides over the last week of tracking.
The campaign is functionally tied across the battleground states with our numbers IMPROVING sharply over the last four tracks.
Greenberg responded with what can only be described as snarky sincerity:
All of us at Greenberg Quinlan Rosner were in awe of the boldness of these assertions, as they, we are sure, honestly reflect the data, show a nuanced use of language and topics, and weave a story that almost gets to the conclusions that this race is opening up, unpredictable, and closing, without formally saying those things. What is interesting is that some of the findings match ours, but with a fuller picture, take us to a different close.
In our regression modeling for the presidential battleground states, the two biggest drivers of the vote are who brings the right kind of change and who is on your side. Obama enjoys double-digit advantages over McCain on both - with about 53 percent of likely voters choosing him, creating an upward pressure on the vote. The structure of this race just has not changed as we have moved to the finish line.
As Greenberg notes, McCinturff is just doing his job but highlighting that Fox News poll certainly seems like grasping at straws and certainly brings me back to Josh's question of whether Fox spun the straw out of nothing in order for it to be grasped.